Doe-eyed girl

Valentine’s Day continues to grow in popularity in China

Doe-eyed girl

Like many couples, Changmao and Chunzi chose an auspicious day for their wedding: February 14 or Valentine’s Day.

But the two lovebirds turn out to be a far-from-ordinary couple. That’s because Changmao is a ram and Chunzi a deer. The two animals got “married” at a zoo in Yunnan this Tuesday.

For media on the hunt for a syrupy story over the Valentine Day’s news cycle, their story was a godsend. Apparently Changmao and Chunzi first fell in love when their zookeeper caged them together two years ago (fortunately, both are herbivores, so any bickering stays non-fatal). Then the zookeeper noticed that the pair were proving particularly affectionate towards one another, with Chunzi licking Changmao’s hair, and Changmao squaring up to rival male deer that dared to approach his doe.

Like all good relationships, there was also a rough patch to be weathered, after Changmao fathered a lamb with the zoo’s only female sheep. Zoo officials then decided to separate the couple, presumably to give Chunzi time to talk things through with her mother. Changmao, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have enjoyed the time apart, and was even reported to have attacked the unfortunate mother of his recently-born lovechild.

Then deer and ram were finally reunited, tying the knot on Valentine’s Day.

Someone at the zoo’s PR department needs promoting, it seems. But Changmao and Chunzi were not the only couple to feel the weight of Cupid’s arrow this week. According to the marriage registration website at the Beijing municipal civil affairs bureau, at least 1,400 prospective newlyweds made appointments to register marriages in urban Beijing — almost twice the number of last year.

Although Valentine’s Day is not a traditional festival in Chinese culture, it has become increasingly popular among young people (see WiC49 and 95). But not everyone is a fan. Take Zhang Yixin, a 24 year-old (and single) filmmaker. He seems to have added an aggressive touch to celebrations of the day in question, by organising a singles’ party in his hometown of Changchun at which participants were required to don shirts emblazoned with “Couples Go To Hell”.

Other just want to avoid the day altogether. “My parents have arranged eight blind dates for me in the last two weeks, and have even set one up for Valentine’s Day, which only reminds me of my bachelor status and leaves me feeling under enormous pressure,” Sun Lin, a 27 year-old bachelor, moaned to the Global Times.

Sun is not alone in feeling blue. Perhaps that’s because he’s not trying hard enough. The Shenzhen Daily has reported that over 40% of Chinese men dislike celebrating Valentine’s Day. Why? Mostly because it costs them too much money.

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